In January this year an article was published on the Telegraph website headlined "Extremist leader jailed for child abuse". Readers were informed:
"A man has been jailed for a series of sex attacks on children committed while he was the leader of a Muslim extremist group and a teacher at a hardline London mosque. Ashraf Miah, 38, from Mile End, a former teacher at the East London Mosque, repeatedly molested the girls whilst they recited religious texts. The youngest victim was five and the oldest only seven.
"Miah was at the time the East End leader of the notorious extremist group Hizb ut Tahrir, which believes that voting and democracy is forbidden in Islam and wants to turn Britain into a sharia state....
"The court heard that Miah also taught at the hardline East London Mosque, controlled by the Islamic Forum of Europe, which also believes in turning the UK into a sharia state, though by different methods. The mosque has hosted many hate, extremist and terrorist preachers, including Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda spiritual leader. Some of the victims were introduced to Miah via the mosque."
The article has since been removed from the website and today the Telegraph published the following retraction:
"Our report 'Extremist leader jailed for child abuse' (Jan 20) wrongly said that some of the victims of Ashraf Miah, described in a court report as a former teacher at the East London Mosque, were introduced via the Mosque. We are happy to confirm that the Mosque has no record of him ever having taught there and that there was no suggestion at trial of his victims having been introduced to him there."
Now, which Telegraph journalist do you suppose could have adopted such a slipshod attitude towards the basic facts of the case, with the evident aim of stitching up the East London Mosque? No prizes for guessing that it was of course Andrew Gilligan.
Update: Gilligan complains that Islamophobia Watch has attacked him over "an incorrect news-in-brief item about the mosque in the Telegraph which I did not write".
As it happens, I couldn't find the news-in-brief report that appeared in the print edition of the paper so I quoted from the unedited version of the article as it appeared, under the title "Extremist leader jailed for child abuse", on Gilligan's Telegraph blog. This was the link to the article:
As you can see if you click on it, the link is dead and the article has been deleted.
It was, however, reproduced at the time on a number of right-wing Islamophobic websites, where it can still be found (for example here, here and here). Is Gilligan now saying that he didn't have a hand in writing an article that he posted on his own blog?